Older people dance, bowl and kurl at Active Norfolk festival

Mobile Me Festival 2016. Picture by Active Norfolk

Mobile Me Festival 2016. Picture by Active Norfolk - Credit: Active Norfolk

The UEA Sportspark filled with about 100 people yesterday, all playing activities from table tennis to dancing to New Age Kurling (an adaptation of the original curling game).

Mobile Me Festival 2016. Picture by Active Norfolk

Mobile Me Festival 2016. Picture by Active Norfolk - Credit: Active Norfolk

Despite the physical activity required in many of the games, those in attendance were older people, many of them residents from care homes and sheltered housing environments in Norwich.

Active Norfolk decided to celebrate UK Older People's Day, which conveniently falls on today's date, by hosting the Mobile Me Festival at the UEA. The Mobile Me project was launched in June 2015 to bring physical activity programmes to older people at care homes and sheltered housing schemes.

'That old adage of 'use it or lose it' really applies here, so if you're not using your limbs, if you're not moving them, they can deteriorate.

'As you get older you need to do every little bit to keep them moving and keep them able for as long as possible,' Ryan Hughes, the project officer for Mobile Me, said.

A secondary goal of the project - yet just as crucial for maintaining mental and physical wellbeing - is providing a social outlet for older people.

One couple at the festival, John and Julie Oakes, said they appreciate the project for bringing them together with people they wouldn't have met otherwise.

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'It does help to look forward to something and to meet everybody. That's an important part of it – we do meet people more and you feel so much better when you go home, it tears you up.

'I'm sure there are a lot of people that sit at home and would love an opportunity to do something like this, but it's not easy if you're on your own, I should imagine, to get out and do something,' Mrs Oakes, 79, said.

'This gives people a reason to leave the flat, to come down and be together and end a little bit of that loneliness,' Mr Hughes said.

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